Braided Pesto Bread

An easy and flavorful savory bread, featuring thick streaks of basil pesto sauce throughout.

Braided Pesto Bread Recipe from

So, I bit the bullet. I finally caved and pre-ordered both Frozen and Catching Fire. I figured, if I was going to drive to the store to get both anyway, why not just have them delivered. Right? If it weren’t for Prime shipping then I probably would have just gone to the store. But now I’ll be stalking the driveway waiting for that pretty brown truck to pull up. My luck, they’ll be late those days. Does anyone else get happy to see that truck? It’s like Christmas, only we know what’s arriving, or at least most of the time.

Tell me, have you seen either or both of the movies? If not, please do. They’re both seriously so good.

Also, an update on the doll situation. I got the Kristoff doll for lil man, in hopes they could each play with a character and not fight over them. Only, I’m positive the fights will still happen, it’s only a matter of time. But here’s the thing, I’m shocking myself, not literally of course. I still haven’t given them the dolls. They’re safely hidden in a box way out of their reach and almost out of mine. Out of sight out of mind! We’ll see how long that keeps working.

Braided Pesto Bread Recipe from

Now moving on to something totally delicious that you absolutely need to make immediately. No, really. This bread. This amazing bread.

A little back story. My oldest, she kind of follows my childhood footsteps in the sense that she is super particular about what she’ll eat, and thus what she won’t. When I was making this bread, she wanted nothing to do with it, even to the point of ewwwing at it. I easily bribed her into trying a bite, and that’s when it happened. She wanted more! She proclaimed her love for this bread practically. So given that my most choosey eater of the house loves this bread means that you absolutely have to make it. It’s that kind of good.

A tender and flavorful bread, with a basil-pesto filling, braided into a loaf and baked to perfection. Eat it as is, slathered with butter, warm or cold. Just make it, eat it and enjoy it!

This one is a keeper.

Braided Pesto Bread Recipe from

Braided Pesto Bread

A flavorful savory bread with streaks of thick pesto throughout.
Prep Time1 hour 40 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time2 hours 20 minutes
Course: Bread
Cuisine: American
Servings: 10



  • 1 1/4 C water
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 C all purpose flour
  • 1 C white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 3 Tbsp Parmesan cheese


  • 2 C packed fresh basil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 C Parmesan
  • 3-4 Tbsp olive oil


  • Heat water to 115°F. Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Allow yeast to proof.
  • To the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with dough attachment, add flour and salt. With mixer running on low, slowly add yeast mixture. Increase speed to medium high, mixing until dough comes together in a clean ball. Shape dough into a smooth ball, transfer to a lightly greased large bowl. Cover and allow to rise for one hour or doubled in size.
  • Meanwhile, prepare pesto sauce in a food processor. Blend together basil and garlic. Add cheese, blending quickly. With lid on and food processor running on low, slowly drizzle in olive oil.
  • Roll out dough on a silicone counter mat into a 10 x 20-inch rectangle. Spread pesto sauce out to 1/2-inch from edges. Starting at one of the shorter sides, tightly roll up dough, pinching edges as you go. Using a sharp knife, carefully slice completely through dough, end to end. Braid dough. Carefully transfer to a lightly greased 10-inch loaf pan. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Lightly cover and allow to rise for an additional 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake for 40 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 190°F.
  • Cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.


Recipe serves roughly 10, yields 1: 10-inch loaf.
Troubleshooting dough tips: If dough is too sticky, add a spoonful more flour until ball forms. If dough is too dry, add a spoonful of olive oil at a time until a ball forms.
An original recipe from Baked by Rachel

Braided Pesto Bread Recipe from

More recipes to try:
Pesto chicken lasagna rolls
Bacon-basil pesto and chicken pizza
Whole wheat buffalo chicken pizza
Whole wheat pizza dough
Amish potato rolls
Cheesy garlic pizza bread sticks
Garlic and herb pull apart bread
English muffin bread

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132 Responses to “Braided Pesto Bread”

  1. #
    Jenny — February 27, 2014 at 6:40 am

    That looks INCREDIBLE! The swirling pattern turned out amazingly well!

    • #
      Rachel — February 27, 2014 at 7:30 am

      Thanks Jenny :)

  2. #
    Rachel @ Bakerita — February 27, 2014 at 7:45 am

    I’m a pesto fiend, and this bread looks right up my alley. I bet any sandwiches made on this would be absolute heaven…but my loaf probably wouldn’t get that far! Pinned :)

    • #
      Rachel — February 27, 2014 at 3:42 pm

      It totally didn’t last long enough for me to attempt sandwiches ha! But I bet it would have been amazing :)

  3. #
    Marie @ Little Kitchie — February 27, 2014 at 8:03 am

    This is absolutely beautiful!!

    • #
      Rachel — February 27, 2014 at 3:42 pm

      Thanks Marie!

  4. #
    Mariana @ The Candid Kitchen — February 27, 2014 at 8:18 am

    Never thought of adding pesto to my bread. And pesto has a special place in my heart

    • #
      Rachel — February 27, 2014 at 3:42 pm

      Well, now you definitely have to :)

  5. #
    Leah | So, How's It Taste? — February 27, 2014 at 8:34 am

    This looks spectacular! I want this now!

    • #
      Rachel — February 27, 2014 at 3:42 pm

      Thanks Leah!

  6. #
    Gina @ Running to the Kitchen — February 27, 2014 at 9:29 am

    This is genius! My plants are officially dead, we literally pulled the plug on the aerogarden this morning but I have enough basil leaves for one more batch of pesto!

    • #
      Rachel — February 27, 2014 at 3:43 pm

      I *think* I might be able to get one more batch from mine but we’ll see. I’m totally scared to see the inside of mine after seeing yours!

  7. #
    Jennie @themessybakerblog — February 27, 2014 at 9:36 am

    Wow, this loaf of dough is stunning. It really is a beautiful loaf. I bet this is delicious, with all of the swirled layers of pesto. Yum! I’ll be over with a bucket of popcorn ready to watch Frozen :)

    • #
      Rachel — February 27, 2014 at 3:43 pm

      haha! I’ll have to stock-up on popcorn for the next month I’m guessing with the fun movies coming out :) And thank you!

  8. #
    Laurie {Simply Scratch} — February 27, 2014 at 10:29 am

    This seriously has to be the pretties bread I’ve ever seen!

    • #
      Rachel — February 27, 2014 at 3:44 pm

      Thanks so much Laurie! :)

  9. #
    sally @ sallys baking addiction — February 27, 2014 at 10:35 am

    This braided loaf is almost too pretty to eat! I would love a pesto-infused slice at any time of day. Great recipe Rachel!

    • #
      Rachel — February 27, 2014 at 3:44 pm

      Never too pretty to eat, especially when it tastes this good :) Thanks Sally!!

  10. #
    Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking — February 27, 2014 at 10:54 am

    Look at those gorgeous green pesto swirls! I LOVE this, Rachel. What a fun and delicious twist on traditional loaves. Great recipe!

    • #
      Rachel — February 27, 2014 at 3:44 pm

      Thanks Georgia!

  11. #
    Shannon {Cozy Country Living} — February 27, 2014 at 11:26 am

    Oh my goodness this is the most beautiful bread I have ever seen! I can’t wait to try this! Just lovely!

    • #
      Rachel — February 27, 2014 at 3:44 pm

      Thanks so much Shannon! :)

  12. #
    Christine — February 27, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    well, i know what i’m doing tonight! so glad i have all the ingredients!

    • #
      Rachel — February 27, 2014 at 3:44 pm

      Enjoy!! :)

  13. #
    DessertForTwo — February 27, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    Your photos have been taking my breath away lately! So stunning! You make such beautiful (and delicious!) food!

    • #
      Rachel — February 27, 2014 at 3:45 pm

      Thanks so much :) That’s really sweet of you to say.

  14. #
    Terri C — February 27, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    This is beautiful ! Must try this!

    • #
      Rachel — February 28, 2014 at 7:28 am

      Thanks Terri!

  15. #
    Maria — February 27, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    So in love with this bread!

    • #
      Rachel — February 28, 2014 at 7:28 am

      Thanks Maria! :)

  16. #
    Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie — February 27, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    Oh my gosh Rachel that is the most beautiful loaf of bread I have ever seen. And I now know what I need to make with all the pesto I have stored in the freezer!

    • #
      Rachel — February 28, 2014 at 7:29 am

      Thanks Erin! A perfect use for that pesto! :)

  17. #
    Heidi @foodiecrush — February 28, 2014 at 2:25 am

    How does that skinny, withery doughy loaf turn into a blossoming, savory dinner dream? I mean, seriously. That stuff is legendary. This is bucket list worthy. Out-frigging-crazy.

    • #
      Rachel — February 28, 2014 at 7:29 am

      It’s magic. ;) Thanks so much Heidi!

  18. #
    Julie @ Table for Two — February 28, 2014 at 8:13 am

    Wow, this bread is seriously stunning to look at. I keep following the pretty lines and weaves it’s forming, haha :)

    • #
      Rachel — February 28, 2014 at 10:59 am

      Aww thanks :)

  19. #
    Layla @ Brunch Time Baker — February 28, 2014 at 8:40 am

    I can’t believe what I’m seeing. This bread looks too good to be true! I love it!!

    • #
      Rachel — February 28, 2014 at 10:59 am

      Thanks Layla! :)

  20. #
    Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough — February 28, 2014 at 9:36 am

    LOVE. THIS. I have so much bread in my fridge right now but I still need to make room for this one, it looks so good.

    • #
      Rachel — February 28, 2014 at 11:00 am

      There’s no such thing as too much bread ;)

  21. #
    Moni Hancck — February 28, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    There aren’t enough superlatives to describe this bread. Made it for dinner tonight and it was wonderful. Thanks for sharing lovely photos and great recipe!

    • #
      Rachel — March 1, 2014 at 8:58 am

      So glad to hear you enjoyed it! Thanks for coming back to share :)

  22. #
    Stacy — February 28, 2014 at 10:45 pm

    Can I use all all-purpose flour instead of the white wheat flour?

    • #
      Rachel — March 1, 2014 at 8:55 am

      Yes, it should still work okay.

  23. #
    Kristine @ Kristine's Kitchen — March 1, 2014 at 10:01 am

    What a beautiful loaf! I can see serving this in so many different ways- with a pasta dinner, as a snack, as a sandwich… How amazing would this be made into a grilled cheese sandwich? Yum!

    • #
      Rachel — March 1, 2014 at 6:31 pm

      Thanks Kristine! And seriously what a great thought to make a grilled cheese sandwich with it mmmmm!

  24. #
    WhatJessicaBakedNext — March 1, 2014 at 11:14 am

    This looks delicious- love pesto bread!

    • #
      Rachel — March 1, 2014 at 6:31 pm

      Thanks so much :)

  25. #
    Tanya K — March 6, 2014 at 11:37 pm

    Omg I do this exact thing with my challah recipe every weekend! Pesto n’ all. I usually just braid it and bake it on a flat pan so it looks more like challah bread but I love how neat it ends up being in the loaf pan! Definitely going to have to try baking it in one

  26. #
    Meghan — March 7, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    I made this for dinner tonight with some leftover kale pesto – what a lovely recipe, thank-you!

    • #
      Rachel — March 8, 2014 at 7:30 am

      I’m glad you enjoyed it! :)

  27. #
    Kristin @ — April 8, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    Wow, I would think this would be complicated but you make it look pretty simple. I’m a huge pesto fan so I’m definitely adding this on my list of must tries! Thanks!

  28. #
    Angela Brown — June 16, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    Great post! I’ve always made sweet braided breads, but haven’t made a savory one before! Thanks for sharing!

    • #
      Rachel — June 18, 2014 at 11:53 am

      Thanks Angela!

  29. #
    Deirdre Reid — June 29, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    Hi Rachel. I have lots of homemade basil pesto in my freezer so I won’t have to make it from scratch for this recipe. How much pesto do you end up having by following your recipe? I need to figure out how much to defrost. Thanks — can’t wait to make this!

    • #
      Rachel — June 30, 2014 at 7:31 am

      I believe it makes roughly 3/4 cup, or slightly more. I hope that helps! Enjoy :)

  30. #
    Deirdre Reid — June 30, 2014 at 10:37 am

    Thanks, that helps a lot. I just needed to have a ballpark idea.

  31. #
    Elyssa Clement — July 21, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    So I attempted this dough twice without luck. I feel like there is a disproportionate water:flour ratio. It keeps coming out gloppy and doesn’t form into a ball like it should. Any suggestions to what I’m doing wrong? Am I reading correctly: 1 1/4 cup water and 2 1/2 (total) cups of flour? I really want this beautiful deliciousness for lunch tomorrow!! Thank you!!

    • #
      Rachel — July 22, 2014 at 7:25 am

      Those are the correct amounts, using all purpose and white whole wheat flour. However, as mentioned in the notes section, if your dough is too wet then you should continue to add flour a spoonful at a time until a ball forms. Good luck! :)

  32. #
    Virginia Payne — July 25, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    This looks divine!

  33. #
    Katie — July 30, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    Loved this bread! Only change I will make for next time is instead of a “lightly greased loaf pan”, I will grease the living daylights out of that thing! This is beautiful and delicious!

    • #
      Rachel — July 31, 2014 at 7:39 pm

      So glad you enjoyed it! :)

  34. #
    Emily — August 3, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    Amazingly beautiful. Love pesto. Love bread. Divine!

    • #
      Rachel — August 3, 2014 at 7:07 pm

      Thanks Emily!

  35. #
    Sean — August 7, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    This was amazing! We made sandwiches with the bread. I had one question though. Could I cut the dough and make them into sandwich size hoagies and bake them on the SILpat? Do you think the pesto idea would work with Ciabatta bread? Thanks again!!

    • #
      Rachel — August 8, 2014 at 8:01 am

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I haven’t personally tried making them that way, but it would be worth a try. If you do, please let me know how it turns out! :)

  36. #
    Jill — August 22, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    This is amazing!

    • #
      Rachel — August 23, 2014 at 7:28 am

      Thanks Jill!

  37. #
    Anne — August 23, 2014 at 7:43 am

    I, too, had a big fail with this bread. I added more flour and still could not get the dough to come together in a ball. How long should it take? Maybe I over beat it – it tasted good but it did not rise very much either – so it is very dense!

    • #
      Rachel — August 24, 2014 at 8:33 am

      I’m sorry to hear you didn’t have 100% success. There are many factors that come into play with making bread: measuring accurately, have substitutions been made, is the yeast active or old, not to mention that weather and elevation can play a big role. Many have had success with this bread, so the amounts are correct.

  38. #
    Anne — August 24, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    I will definitely try it again because it is delicious. But could you tell me how long it should take to come together in a ball once I get enough flour mixed in?

    • #
      Rachel — August 24, 2014 at 7:06 pm

      If you’re using a stand mixer, it shouldn’t take long at all – minutes really. If you’re doing it by hand it will take quite a bit longer and more effort with kneading etc. Good luck!

  39. #
    Darlene — September 14, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    Please let me know if you use the dip and sweep method of measuring the flour or spoon the flour into the cup and then level it. The different methods for measuring will yield different weights, and thus, affect the outcome. Thanks in advance. This recipe is GORGEOUS!

    • #
      Rachel — September 14, 2014 at 6:40 pm

      All recipes on my site are the scoop and sweep method unless otherwise noted. Enjoy! :)

  40. #
    Jen — October 6, 2014 at 11:48 pm

    This is Yummy! Followed this recipe exactly. and the bread is great. This will be a regular in my house.

    • #
      Rachel — October 7, 2014 at 10:17 am

      So glad you enjoyed it! :)

  41. #
    Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom — October 22, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    ok this is gorgeous and brilliant .. what a wonderful way to use pesto!!!

    • #
      Rachel — October 23, 2014 at 7:27 am

      Thanks Alice!

  42. #
    Anna — November 14, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    Just made this bread! I hope it turns out as pretty and delicious as everyone is saying!

  43. #
    Cindy Long — January 18, 2015 at 9:24 am

    I saw your link to the brown eyed Baker. I hope to make this recipe tomorrow it looks and sounds amazing I noticed there’s no fat in the bread I find that unusual.I would have expected a couple of tablespoons of olive oil or some butter is it due to the oil in the pesto. Thank you Rachel.

    • #
      Rachel — January 19, 2015 at 9:39 am

      No oil or butter is called for in the dough portion of the recipe. The pesto does add nice moisture to the bread. Enjoy!

  44. #
    Deepika — January 22, 2015 at 11:53 pm

    Hi. Thanks for the recipe share. I tried the bread and the whole house smelled wonderful. The kids couldnt wait for it to come out of the oven. It tasted delicious and was soft. However the layers all came apart when i cut it- any suggestions how i can prevent that from happening. Would appreciate tour feed back. Thanks and regards. Deepika

    • #
      Rachel — January 23, 2015 at 7:37 am

      So glad you enjoyed it. As for the layers staying together, my only thought is that it wasn’t rolled or braided tightly enough to compress the dough together during the rise and baking cycles.

  45. #
    Colleen Muhs — February 1, 2015 at 3:57 pm

    There are 2 quantities for salt in the dough portion of the recipe- do both go into the dough or is the sea salt a sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese before baking?! Mine is in the raising state~ can’t wait!!!! Basil is the ultimate herb of choice at our house!!! Ready to enjoy the bread with ham and broccoli cheese soup for Sunday supper!!!

    • #
      Rachel — February 1, 2015 at 10:35 pm

      There is only one quantity listed for salt in the ingredients and instructions. It’s added along with the flour. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

  46. #
    Colleen Muhs — February 1, 2015 at 10:45 pm

    Thank you so much for your quick response! MY MISTAKE!! That’s what I get for having 2 recipes on the counter at the same time- the other was your Bacon basil pesto and chicken-pizza which was also amazing!!

    • #
      Rachel — February 2, 2015 at 8:14 am

      So glad you realized what the issue was! Happy to hear you enjoyed the pizza too!! :)

  47. #
    Lauren @ Lauren Caris Cooks — February 13, 2015 at 11:01 am

    Amazing! I love a fancy bread and this looks absolutely stunning!

    • #
      Rachel — February 14, 2015 at 7:55 am

      Thanks Lauren!

  48. #
    Maria Wendy Rinaldi — February 25, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    That’s a yummy use of basil and I’m going to try it for sure. The italian traditional Pesto includes pinoles, but your recipe is lighter. Good ! Thank you!

    • #
      Rachel — February 25, 2015 at 3:10 pm

      I hope you enjoy it! :)

  49. #
    Christine — March 3, 2015 at 9:06 am

    Rachel, I loved this bread! I used jarred pesto and was worried it added too much oil, but it baked up wonderfully. I’m making this again and trying the sun-dried tomato pesto next time (Classico brand). This is one time the food tasted as good as it looked. Thank you, and I really enjoy your site!

    • #
      Rachel — March 4, 2015 at 7:32 am

      So glad you enjoyed it! And I love your idea for the sun-dried tomato pesto too! :)

  50. #
    sarah c — March 3, 2015 at 1:22 pm

    this looks fab! i’m going to make for st. patrick’s day.. quick question; when you say braid the dough, is it just the two halves twisted together? thanks!

    • #
      Rachel — March 4, 2015 at 7:30 am

      Yes, the two sections are twisted into a braid appearance. Enjoy!

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